23rd Mar, 2019

Kopriva departs as Hackett says yes to the Blaze

Ben Tyler 10th Jan, 2019

FORMER NHL goalkeeper Matt Hackett has joined the Coventry Blaze for the remainder of the 2018/19 season following the departure of Miroslav Kopriva from the club.

The 6ft 2in Canadian appeared 26 times for the Minnesota Wild, later joining the Buffalo Sabres, before making the step into the AHL with 213 appearances where he kept a 90.9% save percentage and a 2.65 goals against average in seven years between 2010 and 2017.

It was last season when Hackett made his foray into European ice hockey, making the move to Slovakian club HC Detva, however a move to Medvescak Zagreb in the top flight of Austrian hockey fell through, paving the way for a move to the Blaze.

Hackett is set to make his debut for the club away at Guildford Flames on Saturday, before making his home bow in the return leg at the Skydome Arena on Sunday (5.15pm).

The outgoing Kopriva departs the Blaze for a second time after making 21 Elite League regular season appearances in total, with a solitary Challenge Cup appearance during his spells with the club.

Speaking on the Slovakian goaltender, head coach Danny Stewart said: “As a club, we thank Miro for coming in to help us on two occasions and we wish him nothing but the best for his future.

“Since Kevin Nastiuk’s decision not to return in the summer, we have struggled to find consistency within the goalie position due to injuries and some inconsistent play.

“In Matt, we get a guy that’s played at the very highest level and had success there. We are delighted to get someone of his pedigree.

“He’s a big guy that will bring us elite goal-tending at this level every night.”

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